We already saw the wedding party's socks… which sounds weird, but is actually awesome! You can bet the rest will rock too.
Her offbeat partner: Charles, Other co-owner of a vegan pizzeria
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Our priorities for the day were stuffing people full of delicious vegan food and sharing some legit, sincere romance. Romance-wise, we were dressed to the nines but with our signature hair. On our first date, he had a blue mohawk and I had pink hair. We went to the symphony and we were all fancypants, so our wedding style was reminiscent of when we met. We had a long ceremony, because that's what it's all about for us.
Rather than bridesmaids and groomswhatevers, we had “besties.” We didn't make them choose sides or sort them by gender. We bought each a pair of striped socks as their official invitation to be our bestie, and then we left the rest of their outfits up to them.
Foodwise, we had dessert first: cake, cupcakes, Rice Krispie treats, cinnamon rolls, and cowboy cookies baked by me, as well as way too many Mighty-O Donuts. Then we had an incredible Thai buffet, reminiscent of our two-month trip to Thailand, where we got engaged.
We're atheists but I'm also Jewish, so we threw in a couple traditions, like the Hora. Only a few people there (like my parents) had ever done the Hora, but we had trained our besties on what to do. They helped get everyone on their feet and in a circle and then everyone wanted to get up on a chair.
Tell us about the ceremony: Before the ceremony started, while the guests were getting situated outside, we had the symphony playing (via laptop) that we went to on our first date. After that, “Hesitating Beauty” by Billy Bragg and Wilco came on, so that was our signal that it was time for everybody to situate themselves and get ready to go out. Then Charlie's mom and dad walked him out to the end of Tom Waits' “Kentucky Avenue,” which he says is the most love-filled song he knows. Our besties walked out to “All I Want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar, which was perfect because they were all dance-y. Finally, my parents walked me out to The Magnetic Fields' “The Book of Love.” They walked me halfway, then I did the last part myself.
We had an outdoor ceremony under a chuppah that Charlie made from bamboo poles and a shawl I bought at a thrift store in Israel. Our officiant (Charlie's childhood bff's dad, who had led their “non-religious youth group for weirdos” and basically saved all their lives) read “On Love” and “On Marriage” from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.
Then we surprised my parents by using the reading from their blue jeans wedding 35 years ago (they had just an officiant and two witnesses, but a full-sized wedding cake).
I had wanted to include something about marriage equality in the ceremony (I'm bi, so it's only by chance that I ended up with a partner that I'm legally allowed to marry), but Charlie (who of course is totally into marriage equality too) was afraid it would be too much of a bummer. He said he wanted our ceremony to be only about our love for each other, for us to get to pretend that there was nothing bad in the world, that there was only our love, and that that was enough. That was so freakin sweet that I agreed to leaving it out. But I think parts of my parents' reading echoed the sentiment anyway:
As you know, no minister, no priest, no rabbi, no public official, can marry you. Only you can marry yourselves. By a mutual commitment to love each other, to work towards creating an atmosphere of care and consideration and respect, by a willingness to face inevitable tensions and anxieties together, you can create a happy wedded life.
On this, the day of your marriage, you stand somewhat apart from all other human beings. You stand within the charmed circle of your love, and this is as it should be. But love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone. Rather, it should serve as a source of common energy, which gives you the strength to live your lives with courage. From this day onward, you must come closer together than ever before. You must love one another in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. But at the same time, your love should give you the strength to stand apart, to seek out your unique destinies, to make your special contributions to the world, which is always part of us and more than us.
Today, as you join yourselves in marriage, there is a vast and unknown future stretching out before you. The possibilities and potentials of your married life are great, and now falls upon your shoulders the task of choosing values and making real the moral dreams that you strongly believe in. In this way, you will create the meaning of your life. If your love is vital, it will make the choosing and acting easier for you.
And towards the end:
Finally, we wish that, at the end of your lives, you will be able to say these two things to each other: Because you have loved me, you have given me faith in myself, and because I have seen the good in you, I have received from you a faith in humanity.
After that, we each read vows we wrote ourselves. Neither of us had heard the other's, but they had a common theme of adventure!
Then we pretended we'd lost the rings, and when one of our besties went to “try to find them,” he opened a door so our wonderful pup could run right to us in his little tuxedo and give us the rings.
Our biggest challenge: Charles is from Seattle, so most of his extended family lives nearby. Mine all live on the East Coast. We wanted a small, simple wedding, but thought it'd be weird for all of his family to come but only my parents and brother. At the same time, I felt like inviting the East Coasters meant turning the wedding into something bigger than I wanted it to be. Some of those family members have thrown super lavish three-day weddings, and my mom insisted that if I invited them, I needed to have shuttle busses, hotel reservations/gift bags, a day-after brunch, etc.
I finally decided to include a letter with all the out-of-town invites explaining that if they'd ever wanted to take a trip to Seattle, now was a great time, because they could come to my wedding (and to the Fremont Solstice Parade!), but that my wedding alone probably wasn't reason enough to plan a whole trip. Some family came. Some didn't. It would have been nice to have everyone there, but I think we handled it as best we could.
My favorite moment: Our first look was so emotional. He was waiting for me in a tunnel while the photographers figured out the lighting. I was out there alone, alone for the first time in days, and I just started crying. I felt so beautiful and I couldn't wait for him to see me, and for me to see him. It was amazing. The photographers told us to just keep kissing, and we were like, “Yesss!!!”
The toasts were so heartfelt: our friend describing us in terms of D&D characters, Charles' grandma, who we weren't even sure would be up to coming, made a toast, Charles' dad recounting the first time I met him when I told him, “My intentions toward your son are honorable and I plan to marry him someday.” (hahaha!)
Our first dance, twirling around and singing The Smiths' “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” to each other, was dreamy.
My funniest moment: During the ceremony, I was crying happy tears so hard that I took the handkerchief out of Charlie's tux pocket and blew my nose on it. Everyone laughed. Then he took it back from me and everyone laughed harder. Then, as I was getting my vows out of my garter pocket, I took out MY handkerchief, blew my nose on it as well, and then he took that one too!
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I like being in control, so it was scary to me to leave a lot of the set-up and take-down to other people. Setting up clothespin lines of photos, for instance, I was hoping to do myself, but there was no time. Our friends ended up doing an awesome job; it looked even better than I'd imagined. And it all got cleaned up and brought back to our house. I was so afraid when we left the first venue that I'd never see any of those photos again.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: If we could have done it over, we would have had one venue instead of two. We thought it would make it easier and cheaper to have dinner at the restaurant rather than getting food brought in, but it was hard to relax into dessert time at the first venue knowing that we were about to have to pack everything up and move.
That said, the drive from venue one to two was one of our favorite parts of the day, because it was just the two of us. The moment we shut the car door, we both took a really deep breath, then tackled each other with kisses and giggles and were like, “Whoa, we just got married! And everyone wants a piece of us because we are total VIPs today, and it is really freaking stressful, but… whoa, we're MARRIED.” And then, as we drove through the city, everyone honked/waved because our car was all decked out with cans and window paint and flowers and it was awesome. Make sure you make time for just the two of you.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: madlove photography
- Bride's dress and pocket garter: Twice Blushed by Amanda Vernell
- Groom's tux rental: Vintage Costumers
- Dog's tuxedo: Baxter Boo
- Bride's hair dye job: VAIN
- Bride's hair styling: Zoe Boysen
- Desserts: Darlin's Desserts (by the bride!)
- Doughnuts: Mighty-O
- Cake topper: Clay Lindo
- Rings: Etsy seller MikaScott
- Bride's necklace: Etsy seller sweetsimple
- Stripey socks: Sock Dreams
- Dia De Los Muertos Papel Picado (banners): MexicanSugarSkull.com
- Thai catering: Araya's Vegetarian Place
- Band: OMGs Cashed Out
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
photography: madlove Photography